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Review: Zombieland

Zombieland takes place in the near-future where the United States no longer exists and regular people are the minority. Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), a loner and the last surviving member from his college in Austin, has managed to stay alive according to his notebook of rules.

The rules in question: avoid bathrooms, always use the double-tap when putting down a zombie, and wear seat-belts. Heading home to find his parents in Ohio Columbus meets Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) a gun-toting, zombie killing aficionado who is seeking the last batch of Twinkies—yes, believe it or not, Twinkies expire.

Along the way they run into Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) who subsequently hijack the duo and leave them stranded outside of a convenience store. They meet again and bond after conversations regarding Willie Nelson, Hannah Montana and other icons. Hearing that the West Coast could be zombie-free, they head to sunny California.

The gore and zombies in Zombieland are played up for scares, but the action is built on comedy featuring references to DeliveranceFistful of Dollars and more. Particular features like zombie kill of the week are hilarious. If there were ever a live-action version of Looney Toons, this would be it.

Some say the main thing missing from the film is the lack of a social message virtually a staple of every zombie film. I would argue that Columbus's set-up story at the beginning is the message (probably unintended) that while we live in the most connected time in the history of the world that no one is really in touch with anyone and to take an effort to get in touch with others.

Let me just take a moment to appreciate the fact that in an age of pop culture where idols like Miley Cyrus, Robert Pattinson and Zac Efron are celebrated that Jesse Eisenberg has become a leading man. Between Zombieland and Adventureland, Eisenberg has really kept his career going since The Squid and the Whale. And who doesn't love a film that allows Woody Harrelson to do pretty much whatever the hell he wants?

Ruben Fleischer's film may not be quite the caliber of Shaun of the Dead, but it is easily the most fun I've had in a movie all year.

***1/2 out of ****

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